Once again here is the irony. Asia’s economies are booming. Energy consumption is set to sour. Much of this will be conventional energy, including fossil fuels. This will lead to climate change, that will devastate the region. So the more the economies boom, eventually they will bust.
Take Hong Kong, the financial hub of the region. For the first time a leading Hong Kong think-tank has released a study examining the likely impact of climate change on Hong Kong and the Pearl River delta.
The Civic Exchange study concludes that even small water-level rises combined with extreme weather could cause flooding across the low-lying delta. The knock-on effects could be felt globally, the report suggests.
The report suggests that flooding in the region would quickly lead to a shutdown in key industries and trade across the delta and in Hong Kong. Key infrastructure such as ports, power lines and drainage systems will fail to function.
Lead author Alexandra Tracy said scientists’ predictions of a 30-cm rise in sea level within about 20 years suggest a greater risk of water surges caused by typhoons and heavy rain. “While that happens the economy of the delta is severely compromised – factories can’t run, raw materials can’t come in, power can’t be reconnected,” she said. “Finished goods can’t go out of the ports and airports because everything has been disrupted.”